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Gastonia Tool Plant Closing, Laying Off 220 Employees

A Gaston County plant where workers have manufactured tools for more than three decades is closing. The Apex Tool Group will shut its doors and lay off about 220 employees in Gastonia by June.

The name on the sign outside the plant has changed over the years. Since 2010, it’s been Apex Tool Group. One thing that hadn’t changed was the product – workers have built tools there since 1978.

But now, Apex Tool Group spokeswoman Kelly Blazek said it’s more efficient for the company to move the work in Gastonia to its plants in Dallas, Texas and China. Blazek would not explain how that change is more efficient.

The company is one of the largest tool producers worldwide, and its products include the well-known Craftsman brand. 

The plant closing in Gastonia means about 220 people will lose their jobs. Blazek said the company will encourage them to apply for work at its other factories in the Carolinas in Lexington and Sumter, South Carolina or in Apex, North Carolina. The company has also applied for federal retraining assistance for the employees.

Blazek said the closure has nothing to do with Bain Capital’s planned takeover of Apex Tool Group. You may remember Bain is the private equity firm that presidential candidate Mitt Romney started. It’s in the process of buying Apex for roughly $1.6 billion.